Tag Archives: Recap

What I Loved [November 2018]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

November was such a busy month and I shamefully only posted four blog posts this past month! I’ve really been wanting to keep up with blog even though I’ve been so busy with candles but I’ve been so wiped out from all of the Black Friday preparation and orders that I keep falling asleep on the couch after I get home from a day of candlemaking! Hopefully this month, I’ll be able to do some working ahead and getting back to some blogging! I really do miss it.

 

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BOOKS READ (7):

This is almost definitely my “worst” month of the year but once again, I felt like doing a lot of binge watching and I just wasn’t in the mood for audiobooks. The only print book I managed to finish this moth was KINGDOM OF ASH but that was 1000 pages so I think that would normally count as like three books, haha! I did start THE BONE SEASON but I’m only halfway through so I wouldn’t have finished this month anyway, but I am really happy with my MISTBORN re-reads because there is SO much that I forgot!

EVENTS

In early November, I got to interview Marissa Meyer (see previous post) and attend her event in Naperville, IL! As always, it was so delightful to see her and I didn’t even make her sign 50 books haha! The event was a lot of fun with great energy and it was so much fun to attend for a book other than The Lunar Chronicles (I wasn’t able to make it to her last event in a previous year).

 

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Brittany (@bookswrotemystory), Megan (@meganthemeganerd), and I spent the weekend together for the event and we made a trip of it! We went out to Volumes in Chicago for some book-inspired coffee and some bookstore time and even stopped by a Friends-theme pop-up bar! I was kind of hoping for more with the pop-up bar, but it was still fun to pretend we were on the set of Friends!

 

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MOVIES & SHOWS

November was all about Dexter! I started a re-watch in October that led me all the way through November, finally finishing the series on the very last day of the month. There was a lot that I forgot in earlier seasons so it was good to refresh my memory and things were just absolutely crazy in the last few seasons! I really did enjoy every episode. I’m not sure I loved the way that it ended but it definitely made for an emotional finale and it was a good way to close things off. Now I only wish those season 9 rumors had been true! I googled just to make sure and nope, it was a fan-made poster that set the whole thing into motion. Not gonna happen.

Exclusive Interview with Marissa Meyer on the Archenemies Tour!

ARCHENEMIES TOUR

Marissa Meyer at North Central College/Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL

I always go see Marissa Meyer when she’s in town and I was so excited to be able to see her again in Naperville, this time for the ARCHENEMIES book tour! The amazing folks at Macmilan/Fierce Reads asked me if I wanted to interview Marissa before the event and of course I said yes! I sat down with Marissa to ask her a few questions about the Renegades series, super powers, and of course, Harry Potter sorting.

(Portions edited for time and flow, only affecting ease of reading and not the actual interview or answers.)

Brittany: We’re celebrating the release of ARCHENEMIES, which is the second book in the Renegades trilogy. The series was initially planned to be a two-book series. Did you always feel like it should have been a trilogy, or did that develop as you were writing the series?
Marissa Meyer: Originally, it did sell as a trilogy so for many, many drafts of RENEGADES. I wrote it attempting to make it a trilogy, but I had thought that the central idea of this hero and villain character falling in love wasn’t itself enough to carry it through three whole books. My plan had been to focus on other characters for the first two books and then Adrian and Nova were going to be the central characters of the third and final book… and it just didn’t work and it wasn’t working and it wasn’t working and after years and years of kind of pulling my hair out, we decided, you know what? Let’s just focus on Nova’s and Adrian’s story and make it a standalone! So RENEGADES became a standalone. I started writing it and finally it started to come together. Finally, I was able to focus on this story between Nova and Adrian, which is what I really wanted to be writing the whole time! So I’m writing it and it kept getting longer and longer and longer, and at some point I realized, hey! I think this could actually be two books. I told my editor and she was thrilled. So we made it two books and I finished RENEGADES. That was done and I started working on ARCHENEMIES, and it kept getting longer and longer and longer… And, at some point it became clear that it was actually three books! And so now it’s a trilogy and working on book three, and I’m preeetty sure we’re done at three. I’m pretty sure.
Brittany: That’s interesting! I like that, though! It’s like you never know where it’s going to take you.
Marissa: Yeah, this book has had a lot of surprises!

Brittany: That was actually one of my other questions! Was there any character scene that really surprised you as you were writing these books and brought you to places you didn’t expect? So I guess we kind of already answer that in part!
Marissa: Yeah. There are tons of things that surprised me! Hmm, what are some specific examples…
Brittany: Were there any characters that ended up getting more page time that you didn’t think were going to be such a big part of the book?
Marissa: No, if anything, there are characters that ended up getting less face time than I expected that they would initially, but it kind of fluctuates. There are characters who you didn’t see a whole lot of in book one, but then they come up more in book two. There’s a character who was supposed to play a huge role in book two and then it ended up not working at all. So now we’re going to see them in book three and that kind of whole [concept] got moved to book three. Then there’s, you know, ideas for scenes that you think will work and end up not working, or you’re writing along and suddenly character says something that completely surprises you and you have to go with it. I mean, there’s always things in writing that come up and change.

Brittany: I really love a well-rounded villain, and I love how often we get to see the inner-workings behind the villains in your books! We got to see Levana’s sort of origin story in FAIREST, the Queen of Hearts and her beginning in HEARTLESS, and now we have so much insight to the Anarchists with Nova being a main character in the Renegades trilogy! Are these types of characters more difficult to write because of their many layers? Or does that actually help you with so much to build off of?
Marissa: It depends! I mean, some of my hero characters are more difficult to write than others, and some of the villain characters difficult are more difficult to write than others, so it doesn’t seem to necessarily be one or the other. But certainly in writing the villains, I’m always trying to make sure that I really understand where they’re coming from. Whether it’s something in their past that has driven them to be a certain way, or something that they’re trying to accomplish that’s motivating them, I want readers to may say, “You know, well, I don’t agree with what they’re doing — they’re really making bad choices — but I can kind of understand why, or I can empathize with them on some level.” So as the writer, of course, I’m always trying to find ways to empathize with them and connect with them in the hopes that we’ll come across to the the readers.
Brittany: I think that’s really interesting with all of the Anarchists who kind of have different levels — there are some people who are so far gone and then Nova, especially being a main character —  you get to see how she interacts with the heroes. And I just think that’s really neat how you get to see all of that, all in one book.
Marissa: Well, thank you! I love writing the villains.

Brittany: Were there any specific sources of inspiration for some of these unique superpowers? Like Ruby’s? Or Honey & Danna with their insect connection?
Marissa: For the most part, [I go with it] if i get an idea that I think seems really cool. Most of the superpowers, I got the idea for them and thought they would just be cool ideas to write about, or were a very visual superpower. I like to write my books to have a very kind of cinematographic quality to them and so something that[, the visual superpowers,] I just thought it would be really neat to play with in different battle sequences and whatnot, so I’m always drawn to powers like that. Alternatively, if there’s something that I think I would really like to have, like that’s a superpower that I would love, then those tend to take top billing too.
Brittany: Were there any of the book that you were ones that you really wanted to have?
Marissa: Nova’s… I would love to never have to sleep! I do also like Adrian’s, too. I do not have any really artistic skill and I’ve always envied people who could drive and paint. You know, it’s sort of symbolic that there are people who could draw something, and it feels like it comes to life on the page. Adrian can actually make things come to life and I just think that’s so cool!

Brittany: The Renegades trilogy is your first release that didn’t have fairy tale inspiration. Was the writing process a lot different without having to go back to a specific source like that? Or did it have any different inspirations?
Marissa: So different, it was so different! I mean, when you’re doing a fairy tale retelling or origin story, like with HEARTLESS, you have a built-in framework already. You know, if I’m doing Cinderella — we know there’s going to be a stepmother. We know there’s going to be a ball. We know there’s to be some sort of shoe that gets lost — like there are things that you know are going to happen, and then you can kind of build the story off of that. But with Renegades being completely original, I had influences — plenty of influences — but nevertheless, I had complete freedom to do anything that I wanted with the story. At first I thought that was going to be great and so easy and fun! And it turned out to be the opposite… I had so many ideas and so many different directions that I thought about taking the story. I tried so many things and really got very lost many, many times and saying, “What could I do with this story? There’s so many options!” and lost focus with it again and again until I finally was able to figure out okay, what is this story that i’m trying to tell?
Brittany: Do you think there would be any like spin-offs or little novellas for the things that did have to get pushed aside?
Marissa: I don’t know! There are a couple of characters that ended up getting cut that I thought had potential for their own works… probably not in the Renegades world — probably a completely different universe’s story world — but I just like some of the ideas that came along with them and I think I could definitely recycle them into something new at some point. As far as, spin-off stories… I have felt like there’s definitely potential to do something from the Age of Anarchy. There’s certainly lots of cool stories that could be pulled from that time period! I don’t know that I will, but it’s something that I have thought about, so we’ll see.

Brittany: There are so many excellent character connections in this series, from family to friendship to romance to teammate. Do you have a favorite character relationship in the Renegades trilogy?
Marissa: Well, I always love the romance story lives obviously! Adrian and Nova, but I also Adrian’s dads, Simon and Hugh — I love every scene where we see them! I think they’re so charming. So in all of my books, everything I’ve ever written before, none of my characters ever have good families! Like, they’re always neglected, and abused — these poor characters of mine! And Adrian was really the first protagonist that I have where he comes from a healthy, loving family, and that is so refreshing to be able to write! I always enjoy those scenes.

Brittany: If you could get yourself a tattoo like Adrian does, which power would you give to yourself first?
Marissa: That’s really good question! I haven’t been asked that before…  I’m trying to think if there’s a tattoo that would let me fly…
Brittany: Wings on your feet?
Marissa: I’m going to have to think about that one!
Brittany: It’s a tough question! I couldn’t think of one for myself…
Marissa: Yeah, because all of his are very centric on like fighting! Even like the jumping thing — having tattoos on the soles of your feet sounds painful… so I’m not sure!

Brittany: If characters from your other books had superhero names and powers, what do you think they would be?
Marissa: So, the first that comes to mind for Cinder would be The Mechanic! She somehow be able to magically fix things… which she sort of already has that superpower! I could totally see Scarlet having fire power and being… the Scarlet Witch,  but that that already exists — there’s Scarlet Witch in Marvel! Hmm, like the Scarlet Flame or something! Wolf would probably [something like a shapeshifter]… There’s another word I was going for, but that works, so he can turn into a wolf!

Brittany: If we were to sort the Renegades characters into Hogwarts Houses, would all of the Anarchist be Slytherins, or will there be a good mix or balance in there?
Marissa: Good question! I almost feel like Nova might be more Ravenclaw than Slytherin…  She might even pass for Gryffindor. Honey would definitely be Slytherin. The Puppeteer, he would be Slytherin. Leroy… He could be Ravenclaw too. But maybe Slytherin. Who am I forgetting ? Phobia! We forgot Phobia!
Brittany: That’s a good question! Are we going to get to know more about Phobia? I’m very excited for that! I just feel like we’re being led up to that.
Marissa: He’s an example of someone who I thought was going to play a much bigger role in the first two books and then ended up not really coming to fruition, but he just become more central in book three.
Brittany: I’m loving the lead up, though. Like, you know that you’re going to get more information and that’s really exciting!

Brittany: I know you love writing romances and I love how naturally they develop. It’s not quick into romance, like you can feel that tension and everything leading up with Nova and Adrian. Is it hard not to just jump right into the kissing scenes?
Marissa: So hard!! All I ever want is for my characters to start kissing! In my very first draft that I ever wrote of CINDER, her and Kai were kissing on like, page 30. Like, let’s do this!! But yeah, I mean, i’m always looking forward to that part. But also as a reader, if the romance develops too fast and they’re kissing too soon, then I lose interest. Like no, no, no, I want the struggle and the tension and suspense, and I really like it to last as long as possible!

I had SUCH a great time interviewing Marissa and another big thank you to her for giving us this scoop and insight on the Renegades trilogy!

What I Loved [October 2018]

In an attempt to get back into the blogging swing, I wanted to revisit my monthly recaps but in a much more casual way! Instead of focusing on stats and posts, I’m sharing some of my favorite things about this month, from books to merch to life and everything in between!

BOOKS

Once I hit my Goodreads goal, I stopped worrying about how many books I was reading and started to let my brain relax a little bit. I did some more Netflix binge-watching, which seems to be more of my routine these days! I still got a good amount of reading done though with some new ARCs and audiobooks!

 

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BOOKS READ (11):

Well, 11 books seems to be the standard for me when I’m not trying to listen to an audiobook every day! I took a few breaks to watch some TV shows and I still ended up with 11 books completed like I did the last two months! I decided to do a few re-reads and I may do even more in November! I just haven’t been in the mindset to start new things (which is part of the reason I’ve been watching TV too) so the re-reads have been wonderful to revisit and they’re allowing my brain to relax a little bit more.

EVENTS

I had a fun bookstore day in mid-October where I visited some new bookstores, including Harvey’s Tales in Geneva, IL! It was their grand opening and the store is so cute. It’s in what used to be a home so it’s has gorgeous windows and lighting and such adorable charm. I grabbed a couple books to support my new local indie and I hope to visit often!

 

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I also went to the Laini Taylor event on the 17th at Anderson’s Bookshop! It was so much fun to see her again and hear some interesting things about the Strange the Dreamer duology! I’m glad I got to read MUSE OF NIGHTMARES before I went and it was lovely to hear her speak.

 

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And lastly, I went to see Sarah J. Maas at her Chicago stop in the last week of October! I’ve had some mixed feelings about her books lately but I was excited for the conclusion of the Throne of Glass series! I’m about halfway through the book right now and it took a while to get things moving but it is fun to be back in that world and remember how fond of it I was. She was also really fun to listen to and had some really funny stories! The event was SO big that we didn’t get to meet her (unless you were someone who purchased exclusive passes) but I had fun sitting with bookish friends and being at the event!

 

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MOVIES & SHOWS

I finished my binge watch of Castle Rock and really enjoyed it! I immediately started watching some other series and a couple friends recommended Black Mirror! I was afraid it was scary for some reason (I just feel like that was how it was advertised?) but it was more dark and scary in the sense that it was just so messed up and things like this totally could happen or totally do happen, thanks to technology. I was totally obsessed though and finished (almost) all of the episodes so quickly!

I was still in a mood for something spooky or Halloween like and I did an annual watch of Hocus Pocus, then started on a re-watch of Dexter. I had been meaning to finish that series forever but I couldn’t remember where I left off all those years ago so my friend Megan suggested I just start from the beginning! I’m actually really glad that I did because there was so much that I forgot about! It really is such an enjoyable show, besides the fact that it’s dark and about a serial killer.

Author Signing Recap | Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff | Obsidio

I finally got to meet amazing author duo Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff this month at the signing for OBSIDIO! It was especially exciting since both authors hail from Australia and made the trek out to the US for a US tour, and obviously even. more exciting was that Anderson’s Bookshop hosted them!

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I was a little surprised that they had it at their LaGrange location since that tends to be a little crowded and I expected the place to be packed, but it wasn’t AS bad as I thought it was going to be. The place was definitely packed but I think everyone was able to get a decent view, even if we did end up in standing room only!

I attended the event with my friends and Novelly Yours candle reps Brittany (@bookswrotemystory on Instagram) and Megan (@meganthemeganerd on Instagram). Megan also lives in Chicago so it’s nice to be able to meet up with her for events so I’ve got a buddy to actually attend the event with, and Brittany came in town from Ohio to see these two authors and to hang out!

The event itself was so much fun! As expected, Amie and Jay were so much fun to listen to, cracking jokes, explaining funny situations, and playing off each other so well. I could easily see how they get along so well and form this great writing team! There were a number of questions for the pair (no, they’re not romantically linked — they each have their own spouses and are just platonic friends) and it was so neat to see the series come to life even more!

 

We learned that Jay wrote mostly all of AIDAN’s parts in the book because according to Amie, she’s “just not that weird” and that Amie’s favorite character to write was Rhys’ quiff (his hairstyle, in case you’re not familiar with the word) in OBSIDIO because it defies the natural laws of peril. They did a great job of keeping spoilers out of things, which is always appreciated, and I loved all of the other things they did share about the series!

Mostly, it was just really neat to meet them both and they were both SO nice. They even personalized every single book that people brought to the event which was up to 15-20 for some people!! I had such a good time and I’m so glad I got to meet the two and get my books personalized!

Throwback Thursday | #TBT | June 11 – 17

Throwback Thursday

One thing I’ve noticed throughout my years of blogging is that old posts tend to be forgotten about once the week has come and gone. Some of my absolute favorite blog posts have been written months ago — or even years ago — and with the fast-paced nature of social media, it’s easy for posts to be missed, overlooked, or plain forgotten.

I used to do a monthly recap but it was sort of a lot of information at all once and to be perfectly honest, it was quite exhausting to put together! In its place, I thought a Throwback Thursday concept would be fun to highlight what happened this week in previous years! It’s a quick and easy way to share old memories (something I always love doing) as well as posts I’ve loved in the past and sharing them with audiences new and old.

2015

  • I Believe in American Hogwarts: Right when we were starting to get news about the Fantastic Beasts movie, we heard there was an American version of Hogwarts. Naturally, I started hypothesizing over what it would be like!
  • 10 Things I Felt About This Book: Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I started re-reading The Lunar Chronicles in anticipation for WINTER and I kicked it off with some re-read thoughts on CINDER!
  • 10 Things I Felt About This Book: Loop by Karin Akins: This was the first “10 Things” post I did to start a more informal book review. For some reason I was having the hardest time coming up with words to say about LOOP even though it was awesome so I decided to take a different approach!

2014

2013

2012

INSTAGRAM

2015

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Photos of DISSONANCE by Erica O’Rourke for a #bookstagram challenge!

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My weekly recap for this week last year with acquired, read, and currently reading.

2014


Want to do your own Throwback Thursday? Feel free! Just use the graphic above or mention that you saw it here! 🙂

Fierce Reads Tour Fall 2014 (Chicago): Recap, Author Interview, and Giveaway!

FIERCE READS TOUR

Marissa Meyer, Gennifer Albin, Jessica Brody, and Nikki Kelly
Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Arlington Heights, IL
October 10, 2014

Macmillan is amazing. The Fierce Reads tour is really always one of my favorite tours and I was SO happy to accept the offer from Macmillan to not only be the official blogger on this stop of the tour, but also to moderate the event! I was so excited but admittedly terribly nervous too! (Not to mention how nervous I was meeting Marissa Meyer for the first time!!!) But I buckled down, put my questions together, and I was so ready to get my interview on with the Fierce Reads ladies!

I had a blast interviewing the Fierce Reads ladies! Let’s see what they had to say on books, writing, and more!

(Portions edited for time and reading purposes and will not affect the overall outcome of the show interview.)

Brittany: If you had to describe your book as THIS meets THAT — like Dracula meets Mean Girls — what would yours be?
Jessica Brody: Mine I’ve always said is Bourne Identity with an Inception-like twist.
Marissa Meyer: I would say that mine is Star Wars meets The Brothers Grimm.
Gennifer Albin: The Handmaid’s Tale meets The Matrix.
Jessica: I like Madmen meets The Matrix.
Gennifer:do like Madmen meets The Matrix…
Nikki Kelly: I’m gonna look to Jessica to answer this one for me!
Jessica: Well, Supernatural meets… City of Bones?
Nikki: Everyone wants to say Twilight —
Jessica: It’s not Twilight, though. It’s very different.
Nikki: It’s not — it’s very different. Maybe True Blood. Supernatural meets True Blood? Although that’s quite risqué.
Marissa: Is string theory the theory that’s all about different dimensions?
Gennifer: No, it’s universes are on strings, basically. Time is a string.
Nikki: What was that movie where [whoops, that’s a spoiler! Taken out so we don’t spoil LAILAH for you!] Maybe Supernatural meets City of Bones, then.
Jessica: The Mortal Instruments meets Supernatural.
Nikki: Yeah, we’ll go with that!

Brittany: Were there any major influences from other authors or books that really inspired your writing?
Marissa: Authors or books specifically?
Brittany: Either one. Or movies… TV…
Marissa: Well my biggest influences are Firefly, which is the most awesome sci-fi TV show ever because in Firefly is has this crew of totally random people that have completely different personalities and it’s like, “Let’s stick them on a spaceship and see what happens!” So going into The Lunar Chronicles, it was like “I just really want a whole bunch of people on spaceship to see what happens!” And then my other big one is Sailor Moon which is really what gave me the idea for the Lunars and a lost princess.
Gennifer: I’m now imagining The Lunar Chronicles like it’s a reality show. [announcer voice] Four princess, contained on a spaceship! What happens when people stop getting along?
Jessica: Who will be voted off next? I’d watch that show!
[laughter]
Jessica: One has been locked in a satellite for years and the other is just crazy!
Marissa: We need to make this a thing!
[we all bring it back around to the question]
Jessica: I think I was really influenced by the TV show Lost in just kind of the mystery and… hopefully my ending is better than theirs, but just the way they pieced these little pieces together and I love the mystery of that show. And I’ve always loved movies like The Matrix and Inception, obviously, and The Bourne Identity because the memory loss thing. I just love the idea of someone waking up with no memories finding out they’re a superhero. That’s just… the dream, right?
Nikki: Better than waking up post-apocalyptic!
Jessica: Waking up and the world’s been taken over by zombies! Not the dream.
Gennifer: For some people it is…
[Zombie tangent!]
Gennifer: Umm, influences… well, I think ever book you ever read influences you in some way. I hate pointing to a specific book because then people like to be like, “OH, now I see how you ripped that off.” [laughter] So I’m gonna go with movies and TV! And I would say that the kind of back and forth banter came from my love of screwball comedies of the ’40s. So like Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant… that whole crew, how they were constantly going back and forth. Actually, I think Cary Grant would make a great Cormac… which is impossible but he would be very handsome and suave and do a good job with the one-liners. And I always used to joke that I went to the J.J. Abrams school of writing because I like to leave a chapter on a… BOOM! A major revelation to the person! Or they finally kissed! Everyone’s like, “God, now I have to read the next chapter!” And I’m like, “That’s the idea!” [everyone agrees] I had another writer say to me one time, “Well I like to end it so people can shut the book and go to bed” and I was like, “You’re doin’ it wrong!” Sometimes when people shut the book and go to bed, they forget to ever open it again. That happens to me!
Marissa: That’s so crazy that a writer would say that.
Jessica: Let’s hope we don’t know this person!
Gennifer: So the Alias school of writing because I didn’t watch lost… I stopped watching Fringe after the first season because I already the second book written but I was like, “I’m going to be influenced by this” so I stopped watching it and I just finally watched all of Fringe and I was like, “WOW!!! We were REALLY on the same page on lots of things! I’m really glad I didn’t watch you. Also, why don’t I write for your show?” So yeah, J.J. Abrams and screwball comedies from the 1940s. Obviously these two things go together.
Jessica: So another answer to the first question is, it’s screwball comedies meets J.J. Abrams.
Nikki: And I’d probably say, do you remember Sliders from the 90s?
Gennifer: YES, I own the box set!
Nikki: That’s when I first discovered Jerry O’Connell… and then he popped up in Scream! But I loved that show and all different dimensions, different to what’s going on in Lailah with three set dimensions but they would use their little um… doobie-doo device. [Talking about Sliders for a while and possible spoilers for the show! Which convinced me that I really do need to watch more of this show…] And the thing would probably be Tales of the Unexpected which was an 80s and 90s show as well which was 15 minutes shorts where at the end it was a “tale of the unexpected” so there was a twist at the end of each episode and I think that’s why I write with twists now.

Brittany: If you had one subplot or minor character that could go off on its own tangent, who or what would it be?
Marissa: I don’t know if I can answer that because it’s kind of something I’m not supposed to talk about! I’ll say that there IS a minor character that I’d like to do a tangent of, therefore I’m probably I’m going to do a tangent of and that’s all I’m going to say.
Nikki: Oooh, that’s really leaving them hanging! That’s how we do it.
Gennifer: Approved!
Jessica: I would love to do a story from Cody’s point of view — my little foster brother — but before he grows up and gets all old. Maybe like a middle grade! Him at thirteen. I did write a short story from Cody’s point of view from the first time he met Seraphina and I had a lot of fun with that because writing him from Serafina’s point of view is a whole different experience than writing from his head so. That’d be fun!
Gennifer: I feel like… We do these things for tour where we write short stories and a lot of times they’re other people so… I have one to do for Loricel so I have that one coming up for me, but I guess I’d probably go back and maybe do some prequel bits, actually, where you saw various characters before you met them. I think it’d be interesting to see Adelice’s parents [book two spoilers redacted!] So maybe them and I’ve had some people ask me to write Valerie and Enora’s love story but I’ve never had the time.
Nikki: I have written two short stories — one Jonah and one Gabriel which are online right now — and they’re set from Jonah and Gabriel’s point of views and they’re both prequels because Gabriel’s is set 100 years ago and Jonah’s is set before we meet him in the first book so probably 10 years, 11 years prior to chapter one of book one so I already got play with that and that was fun. But maybe Hanora if I was doing another one just because she’s an interesting character. Nobody likes her so I’d like to maybe just see how she sees things and her perspective of what’s going on when it all happens.
Jessica: I did write from Zen and Kalen’s point of view — two novellas! One is out now called Undiscovered and one is coming out in January called Unleashed.
Marissa: And I got to write a prequel about the evil queen that’s coming out in January called Fairest.
Gennifer: It was supposed to be a novella… like the rest of us… and then she went way above and beyond.
Marissa: Things just always get longer than they’re supposed to.
Brittany: No complaints here!

Brittany: What’s one gadget or invention in your books that you’re particularly proud of or fond of creating?
Jessica: I love that question! …. But I have to think about it.
Gennifer: I’d say mine are actually the panels that the sunrunners use in the second book because I spent a lot of time reading about solar energy so that I could use terminology that sounded like I had some idea what I was talking about and I actually DID at that point and so those could actually exist. I invented them. Kind of.
Nikki and Gennifer: Copywright Gennifer Albin.
Jessica: I have two. One I actually didn’t invent I just kind of… stole and then expanded but recently the creator of Tesla announced that he wants to create something called a hyperloop which is a little capsule that goes like, a zillion miles an hour using vacuum? Magnets? I can’t remember which one but you can basically get from LA to San Francisco in thirty minutes and he has a plan to implement this in California in the next 20 or 50 years, so I just made the assumption that in the future they will be using these to transport themselves around so I put that in book three which was super fun to establish a world like that. I feel like all future books they travel by train and I was like, “I don’t want to do a train. I want to do something else.” So I put the hyperloop in. One thing I created that actually got taken out — this is going to be a deleted scene — Diotech creates this genetic alteration that’s called the “eternal puppy” and it’s basically where you can make a puppy stay a puppy for its entire life.
Gennifer: That’s like, the scariest thing I’ve ever heard.
Jessica: But they would mature as a dog but they would always stay cute and little for their whole lives! But I had to cut that scene because it just really didn’t do anything for the plot.
Marissa: After hearing that I’m like “Why did Scarlet and Wolf waste all their time on that train…?” Why didn’t they take the hyperloop!?
Jessica: But then they wouldn’t have had the scene.
Marissa: For me again not really my invention but all of the characters in my future world have ID chips implanted in their wrists and this acts as their identification and their money and you can scan anybody’s thing and see their Facebook profile — except it’s not really Facebook but you know — and I think that would be just so convenient. Never have to carry your purse or your phone. And every time I have my Starbucks app and I go to pay with my phone I’m like “We’re almost there.”
Nikki: Probably in Lailah, the crystal in Styclar which gives life to their world. I don’t know if that’s an inventions so much as an energy source but it creates light and life. It was from my head and therefore… I don’t think there’s a crystal somewhere in another world is there that beams out lights at a certain frequency that creates life of beings and all sorts of fun things. And for things that are not my invention, you’ll probably notice there are lots of iPhones and Range Rovers in my book and that’s because I’m hoping for a sponsorship deal! [laughter]

Brittany: What types of scenes are your favorite to write?
[kissing noise and general agreement]
All except Jessica: Kissing scenes!
Jessica: I don’t like writing kissing scenes. I like writing fight scenes! Not like physical fight “take ’em down” scenes but arguments between characters. I feel like that’s when their true personalities come out.
Marissa: Like sparring, verbal repartee, that is fun.
Jessica: Yes! And I love when my characters get in fights when I don’t plan them to. I just had a scene where I was like this is just going to be a normal scene where they walk to the locker (I’m working on a contemporary book) and suddenly they started fighting and I was like, “YES! Let’s do it!” And then once I was done I was like, “Of course they have to fight here. There hasn’t been any tension for the past three chapters. There has to be a fight! Thank you characters for reminding me about that!”
Nikki: And then us three all like the kissing scenes. Kissing and swooning! [Gennifer and Marissa agree]
Marissa: Big, epic gestures of romance.

Brittany: Your books make up some of our biggest fandoms. What are some of yours?
Gennifer: Doctor Who!
Marissa: Firefly! Sailor Moon.
Nikki: Doctor Who.
Jessica: Frozen! Is that a fandom?
Gennifer: It’s like the biggest fandom out there right now!
Jessica: There’s a lot of four-year-olds in that fandom.
Gennifer: But that’s okay!
Jessica: What are they called? Froze-hards? Oh, that doesn’t sound right! [lots of laughter]
Gennifer: The Gilmore Girls fandom is coming back HARD core now that’s it on Netflix and I’m like, “LET’S GO! Let’s do this! Let’s get our movie.” And Veronica Mars. That’s big one for me. Oh my god, I’m a marshmallow!

Brittany: Have you ever received amazing fan art for your books or received and awesome gift from a fan?
Gennifer: Marissa’s actually wearing one.
Marissa: Yes, a fan actually made me this awesome Lunar Chronicles necklace with all the charms that represent the different fairy tales. I get a lot of awesome stuff from fans!
Nikki: Some of us don’t.
Gennifer: Who got all the gifts yesterday! Lailah cookies!
Nikki: I do get a lot of cookies! And Lucky Charms cereal. Just the marshmallows! It wasn’t even the crappy fiber stuff!

Brittany: Wine and cheese style question: what food or beverage item would be a good pairing for your book or series?
Jessica: Well mine’s kind of obvious because in Unremembered she eats a grilled cheese sandwich and it’s a very influential scene…
Marissa: A euphoric moment.
Jessica: It is because it’s the first thing she remembers eating and she kind of falls in love with it so it’s kind of a pivotal scene for her getting reintroduced to the world so I would go with the grilled cheese sandwich and for the blog tour of Unremembered I actually did a video on how to make a grilled cheese sandwich so you can find that on my YouTube channel. It’s very difficult!
Marissa: For the Cinder blog tour I did a “cooking with Marissa” show and made shrimp dumplings because they eat it in one of the chapters and it was so much fun but nobody ever watched it and I was like, “I really wanted to keep making these but I guess I won’t” because it took like, all day long!
Gennifer: There’s so much food in Crewel! I would have a hard time choosing. I like to put curry in all of my books. Even in my contemporary books, people are always eating curry.
Marissa: There was a lot of curry in Cress too!
Gennifer: Yeah, I liked that about your book! And she also has a chocolate torte.
Nikki: Tea in Lailah because she makes a lot of tea, and chocolate digestives. Not cookies as the book says because they American-ized it but chocolate digestives.
[tangent about the word “digestive” which ultimates boils down to the fact that it’s a specific type of cookie although the American gals agree that “digestive” is a terribly unappealing word in America! And how a “cookie” in England is any cookie that has chocolate chips and a “biscuit” is every other cookie]
Marissa: So for mine in book three, there’s this big royal wedding being planned and there’s this one scene where Prince Kai is meeting with the wedding coordinator and she starts going over the wedding menu and it’s like a traditional nine course menu. I planned out the whole thing and it took me like three pages to describe it in the first draft and I had every course from a different so there was a Korean course and a Philippines course and my Indian course and I had so much fun designing this menu and then one of my beta readers was like, “You realize you just took three pages to design and describe a feast. So I ended up cutting it all and only a few of them got mentioned in the book but then I ended up writing a blog post about it but I really, really want to have this feast some day. I really want to have this really fancy dinner party and nine-course meal.

Brittany: Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?
Nikki: Oh, yeah, I do. Obligatory cup of tea and twerk in the kitchen before writing. And then I write in my pants (which is knickers). [And yes. She does mean twerking as in twerking.]
Gennifer: I don’t really have… I need something to write ON and I prefer to have paper and pencil nearby because I like to scribble notes to myself and do some diagramming.
Marissa: Yeah, I like to have paper, and something to drink. Usually water but sometimes coffee or wine or something. Depending on whether it’s before or after noon!
Nikki: I like how you went from water to coffee to wine! Brandy… vodka…
Jessica: For me, I only drink coffee when I write so coffee has an extra, special effect — it’s like magic juice — so I have my coffee and I have my giant, noise-cancelling headphones where I blast this white noise with a special technology called brain entrainment so there’s actually a frequency that gets played under the white noise that brings your brain into focus mode.

Brittany: Are there any questions you always dread being asked?
Marissa: “Where do you get your ideas?” I don’t really dread that because the answer is so easy because you get asked it all the time.
Jessica: I’m always curious too but you just get tired of it. I don’t like getting asked my favorite book and I know it get asked all the time because I just can’t choose. It’s just so hard! I feel like if I don’t give “the right answer” someone’s going to come smite me. It’s a lot of pressure!
Marissa: Every once in a blue moon, you’ll get someone who’s like… trying to stump you. They’ll ask you a question about the world building or the technology like, “In chapter 40, you said THIS but did you know that actually scientists have said –” you know, that sort of question. And a lot of times it’s stuff I actually have considered and usually have a thought out response but every once in a while it’s like, “I don’t know. How was I supposed to know that?”
Nikki: That’s when you just say, “It’s fiction.”
Marissa: Creative license!
Nikki: If you feel like something’s missing, it was intention. You’ll find out in the next book!
Gennifer: You always get lots of writing questions on these panels. And there’s sometimes that mix when you go into an event and … I tend to just want to talk about books and fun stuff and there’s a couple of people who show up and they actually want you to figure out how they’re going to be come writers so the questions aren’t even broad-based questions but like, “How many queries did you send and what was your rejection rate and did you send them at a specific time of day?”
Marissa: I think I was on the Cress tour and it was in a really small town and so the bookstore that was hosting it was worried that they wouldn’t be able to get anybody to come and so they marketed it as writing workshop and I showed up and I was like, “I have no intention of giving a writing workshop! I’m just gonna talk about my books.” And there was only maybe like twelve people in the audience and one of them bought a book. They were just writers and they wanted the secrets of getting published.
Nikki: You should have said, “Buy five books and I’ll talk.” [laughter]

Brittany: The last question is actually “What’s one of the books that your recommend this most?” — Not favorite!
Jessica: That’s different! I recommend Eleanor & Park [by Rainbow Rowell] to anyone who lives and breathes and reads. And even if you don’t read, I’ll still recommend Eleanor & Park to you.
Brittany: Audiobooks!
Gennifer: I have been known to recently push The Discover of Witches series [by Deborah Harkness] on basically anyone who will listen to me so I would have to go with that one!
Marissa: Right now my two big series are The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo which all three books are out so you can sit and read them and marathon them so you don’t have the pain of waiting for the next book like I did!
Nikki: And the Darkling prequel is in the Barnes and Noble edition of Ruin and Rising so you can have that too!
Marissa: And then I am also super obsessed with The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski and there’s only one out — The Winner’s Curse just came out this year and I just finished and early copy of The Winner’s Crime and it was AMAZING.
Nikki: I would just echo Marissa and say I was on The Grisha Trilogy for about six months. I came into it when the third one was just coming out so I came into it at the right time.
Jessica: Oh wait, can I add one more? I also pitch The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson.

I had SUCH a great time interviewing these wonderful ladies and what a fantastic night it was! Another huge thank you to them for some really great answers and such a fun interview!

After the interview, we headed downstairs for the live event! I was so excited to moderate and I cannot express enough how excellent these ladies are! They really had such great answers to everything, they’re so much fun, and had great interactions with the crowd. Since the first interview is SO detailed, I’ll just give you a brief rundown of how the event went + some important things from the Q&A!

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 (I stole this picture from Katie/Polished Page Turners! I didn’t have a picture of me moderating since, well… I was moderating!) 

  • After the authors introduced their books, I asked them which of their characters is their favorite to write. Jessica Brody said that she loves to write Cody. Her editor actually wanted to cut that character but Jessica fought for him to be kept in the books! (She sends her editor all the fan letters for people who have told her that they love Cody!) Gennifer’s was (of course) her villain and Marissa’s favorite is Iko.
  • I asked the authors which power or ability from another panelist’s book they’d like to have and most agreed they’d want Seraphina’s super genius skills! Jesssica then said she’d want Adelice’s powers so she could rip people from universes if she didn’t like them.
  • The authors talked about the challenges they face in building worlds in their books and one of the hardest things was making sure everything worked in future books so the advice was to make sure you have those plans first! Marissa also created a very diverse and vast world incorporating many cultures so she had to make sure she did each of them justice.
  • I asked them about how their writing has changed from the beginning of the series (or book) to the end and many noticed their writing matured. Others ended up spelling things different (Nikki spelling “cruel” like “Crewel” and Gen finally fixing a typo!)
  • I asked which Hogwarts house their main characters would be in (the audience LOVED this) and they said:
    • Jessica: Seraphina –> Ravenclaw
    • Nikki: Hasn’t read or seen Harry Potter! (The only British person on the panel hasn’t read it, she said haha) She said “the best house” and knew that Slytherin was bad so NOT that one. The other ladies decided Lailah would Gryffindor
    • Gennifer: Adelice –> Gryffindor (and she has red hair! Maybe she could be a Weasley!)
    • Marissa: Agreed about Gryffindor and red with Gennifer for Scarlet. Cinder would also be Gryffindor and Cress would be Hufflepuff. Later a fan asked about all the boys and she said Kai would be Hufflepuff. We pressed “What about Thorne?” and she couldn’t decide. I said, “He probably dropped out!” and the authors laughed and agreed!
  • We wrapped up with panel with some audience Q&A!

Another HUGE thanks to these four wonderful authors! They were so fantastic and gracious for letting me grill them about their books all night and I couldn’t have been more thankful for the experience. A HUGE thank you to Macmillan to for providing me with this opportunity to interview the authors, moderate a book event, and make some of my dreams come true! It’s such an honor to be working with all of them.

Then after the panel, I stayed and chatted with some fellow bloggers and other event attendees before getting my books signed by all of the authors! (Poor Marissa. I made her sign my whole stack but she was really kind about it and happily personalized all ELEVEN. What a lady.)

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GIVEAWAY

The giveaway is thanks to the wonderful folks at Macmillan!! One lucky winner will receive ALL FOUR featured Fierce Reads books: UNFORGOTTEN by Jessica Brody, UNRAVELED by Gennifer Albin, CRESS by Marissa Meyer, and LAILAH by Nikki Kelly! (This giveaway is US only.)

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Fierce Reads Tour Summer 2014 (Chicago): Recap & Giveaway!

FIERCE READS TOUR

Leigh Bardugo, Ava Dellaira, Jennifer Mathieu, Emmy Laybourne
Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
June 20, 2014

I always love the Fierce Reads tour. It’s no exaggeration when I say that it’s one of my most favorite book events that comes to town! The authors are always amazing, the books are fantastic, I always love Macmillan, and the tours are just plain fun. They also draw a really amazing crowd and I got to see so many friends that I haven’t even seen in a while!

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The event started just a bit late on account of the authors being interviewed by the book store owner for the Naperville cable access show (and somehow that made me think of The Princess Diaries and Lily’s cable show… But moving on…) so we finally gathered and started the event around 7:15! We were all just excited and buzzing with anticipating! Rachel from Anderson’s Bookshop was moderating the event and had some really fun questions for the authors! (Questions and answers will be paraphrased.)

QUESTION: Did you start out with the title of your book before you began writing or did you go through a few titles before one stuck?
// Emmy Laybourne‘s first title was “We Are ValueMart” which she ended up changing because it sounded too happy… and it would have been confusing if she kept it because the store’s name changed from ValueMart too!
// Leigh Bardugo said the working title for Shadow and Bone was just “The Grisha” but she was told it needed to “be more Googleable”. When she would tell people what the title was, they heard “the Grecians” and it didn’t seem like a book title but more like a series. She came up with Shadow and Bone and then found out about Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone and tried to change it, but it was too late and Shadow and Bone was the winner! As for Siege and Storm/Ruin and Rising, those actually came pretty easily!
// Ava Dellaira thought of the title first as she was driving. Love Letters to the Dead inspired her story.
// Jennifer Mathieu‘s working title was “Alice Franklin is a Slut” and then it got sort of… “toned down” to “The Truth About Alice Franklin” which they just ended up shortening to The Truth About Alice.

QUESTION: If you could hang out with one character from your books for a day, who would it be and what would you do?
// Emmy Laybourne said Max and she would parent the hell out of him! His uncle is the bouncer at a strip club in the books and poor little Max is always around all kinds of crazy happenings so Emmy would make him grilled cheese sandwiches and take him to the playground and really just be a good parent to him!
// Leigh Bardugo said Strumhond (AND WE ALL AGREED). They would go marauding, have all kinds of adventures… you know, general activities with Sturmhond. She said with his attitude and being so cavalier, she could probably only hang out with him for a day or two though and then she would be exhausted of him!
// Jennifer Mathieu said Kurt. She said they were fairly similar in ways and he’s actually a lot like her husband is. She loved how he was a friend to Alice and he’s just one of her favorite characters.
// Ava Dellaira said she’s cheating a little bit and go with Amelia Earhart. She would love to spend time with her and maybe fly around in a plane. (Then jokes were made about how maybe that wouldn’t end well!!)

QUESTION: What’s your writing process like? Do you outline or fly by the seat of your pants?
// Emmy Laybourne said she outlines! With fourteen characters, she really has to in order to know what’s going on and where everyone is!
// Leigh Bardugo plots as well. She uses the three act structure and basically comes up with an outline of her whole book using this method and then fills in the gaps. She never ends up writing and then hitting a wall because she already knows the beginning, middle, and end.
// Ava Dellaira spent a long time listening to her characters and really letting them shape the book. She spent about a year getting to know her characters and then another year touching up the details and the rest of the book so everything fit well together! She took a screenplay approach and made sure all of the scenes really flowed nicely.
// Jennifer Mathieu is very organized with many things, but she sort of lets the characters guide her too. She likes to think she would be more of an outliner but sometimes her characters just take her where they want to.

QUESTION: What’s one thing from your books that got cut that you wish hadn’t?
// Emmy Laybourne didn’t really have to cut anything because she has an outline of her book that she works on with her editors and then once they’re all on the same page, she goes from there. But she’s working on the screenplay for the Monument 14 movie and she got to add something she did want, which was a funny scene between Astrid and Sahalia.
// Leigh Bardugo didn’t really have much she had to cut either, but some of her “gallows humor”, not matter how much she tried sneaking it back in there, didn’t make the final cut.
// Ava Dellaira ended up cutting a lot of details about one of Laurel’s old friends who was one of her favorite characters. The character was still in the book but a lot of her story got taken out.
// Jennifer Mathieu ended up cutting a whole character named Carmen who was one of her favorites! She really loved her but it was just too many voices. She’s hoping Carmen will be able to make an appearance in a future book instead.

QUESTION: What are you working on right now?
// Emmy is working on a new series that’s a horror/comedy! It’s about a cruise involving a whole bunch of (fake) B/C/D list celebrities that are all there advertising this new beverage but… the beverage becomes strangely addicting! Everyone drinks EVERY possible drop they can — even finding it in the materials that it’s clinging to on the cruise ship — until it’s all gone and the only place left they can smell it is… In each other’s blood! She’s also working on the screen play for the Monument 14 movie.
// Leigh is working on her new series, The Dregs! It’s been marketed as Ocean’s 11 in the Grishaverse and guys — this sounds so much like The Lies of Locke Lamora that I am DYING. It sounds amaaaaazing. Humor, heists, grishaverse. I cannot wait.
// Ava‘s book got optioned for a movie by the same people who did The Fault in Our Stars so she’s very excitedly working on the screen play!
// Jennifer‘s working on her next book which is sort of a cult-tale, but so much more than that. It’s about a girl from a very religious family and she sort of gets the chance to step outside of that and see the real world, see what it’s like, and then decide if she wants to go back or not.

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There were more questions from the Q&A but I don’t remember all of them! As always, the Fierce Reads ladies were FANTASTIC and I had such a good time! I got to tell Emmy Laybourne that it was so good seeing her again because the Fierce Reads tour from two years ago in 2012 was my first book event EVER and she and Leigh were at that event so it’s always very special to me to see them again as well as read their books. I was also excited to see Leigh again! I’ve met her a few times now and have almost all of my books from her personalized (except for my dang B&N special edition of Ruin and Rising which didn’t arrive in time, but got my pre-ordered copy from Amazon signed)!

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GIVEAWAY!

I put together a fun little prize pack for a giveaway that I’m calling The Fierce Reads starter kit! I love these ladies and these books so much that I want to get one lucky winner on their way to falling in love with these books/series! The starter kit includes:

  • Signed paperback of SHADOW AND BONE
  • Signed paperback of MONUMENT 14
  • ARC of THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE
  • Fierce Reads tote
  • Fierce Reads poster
  • Some signed bookmarks
  • RUIN AND RISING and MONUMENT 14 buttons
  • SHADOW AND BONE and RUIN AND RISING nail polish
  • Other swag

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UPDATE: One more book added to the giveaway! I also have an ARC of Broken Fences, Hearts, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn! 

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One winner will be chosen at the end of the giveaway to receive everything in the picture you see here! Winner must be 13 years of age or older and have a US mailing address. Sorry, no international entires, please! Winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notifying email before the prize is forfeited to the next person. 

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BEA 2014 Recap!

WHEW, back from BEA 2014 and I am still drained and catching up! It was so much fun but being a more introverted person, I am happy for the time to recoup and snag a little quiet time!

As predicted, one of my favorite parts was seeing all of my close blogger friends again, meeting bloggers for the first time, and meeting new bloggers that I hadn’t even known before! It was really so fantastic to just spend time with the people that I only get to see once a year at best and I’m so glad I got to come out to NYC and meet up with everyone! Once again, I didn’t take as MANY pictures as I should have with everyone but I definitely have more than last year so that’s a start!

WEDNESDAY:
I got into the city on Wednesday, flying straight into LaGuardia. I won’t tell you my taxi-this-isn’t-really-a-taxi story (could I BE more of a tourist?) but I made it safely to Grand Central to meet up with Alyssa (Books Take You Places)! I picked DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas as my airport/plane read and I honestly started it in Midway and finished it at Grand Central. It was THAT GOOD. Seriously glad I chose to read that in one fell swoop! So Alyssa’s train arrived and we headed over to the hotel, grabbed a bite to eat, and then waiting for Amy (Tripping Over Books) to arrive and it was a joyous occasion when we were all finally united again!!!
We went to dinner with Estelle (Rather Be Reading) at Draught 55 because I needed Estelle to introduce me to a few NYC beer selections! We had such a great time catching up and it was so much fun to have us all together, especially since Estelle wasn’t actually attending the conference. It was such a perfect way to start out our BEA trip!

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THURSDAY:
Thursday was probably the busiest day for me overall! We headed to BEA and started the day by scoping out some galley drops and I was fortunate to grab I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN (Jandy Nelson), BELZHAR (Meg Wolizer), and get ZODIAC (Romina Russell) signed, all before 9:45am! That really opened up my day a little bit because I had those on my “schedule” (which I ended up following VERY loosely) and I was able to sort of roam around instead of being “trapped” in autographing & galley drop lines! Thursday was a lot of galley drops and a handful of autographings and the first day was just a bit of a blur! I stalked a few autographings, hunted down a few galley drops, and that was pretty much the majority of my day! We also took our time to pace around the floor and make sure we also said hi to all our fellow bloggers there!
Thursday night was party night for me! I got to go to the Macmillan blogger happy hour over at Houndstooth Pub — YAY! I got back to the hotel around 4 or 4:30 so I had to get ready mildly quickly to book it on over there, so I got ready quickly and headed outside to catch a cab… Only it was rush hour. And there were no cabs. So I started walking (after being told by a cab driver that I “have to wait for one with the light on” because he’s “seen me three times trying to hail a cab” LOLLL no kidding, boss! I kept walking up the street trying to hail as I went to no avail) and literally found no cabs. I was already running late and didn’t want to be TOO late for the party, so at a certain point, I just called it quits and started hoofing it. Yep. That’s right. I hoofed it all the way there. I was mildly sweaty (sorry, guys) and thirsty by the time I arrived but I made it only 15 minutes late! I even got asked if I knew where the block with the fabric stores was so I guess I was convincing as a New Yorker with my fast walking!
The party was fun! My first BEA/blogger party and it was a blast! I got to finally meet the Macmillan staff that I’ve been talking to for so long — YAY! There were so many wonderful bloggers there too and I even met a few people first the first time like Kat, Steph, and Meg from Cuddlebuggery! I got to see some of my blogging friends there too, like Alexa (Alexa Loves Books), Sandie (Teen Lit Rocks), and Christina (Allodoxophobia)! It was so great to talk to them and spend time with them since I never get to see them in person and they are some of my FAVS! It was a lot of chatting and some good drinks, and then before I knew it, it was time to move onto the next party AHHH!
I then moved on to the YA Party hosted by Liza from WhoRuBlog, Andye from Reading Teen, & Hannah from The Irish Banana. What a party!! I got to see bloggers and authors alike with some publishing reps mixed in as well! It was such a great time (after I lost my Bingo card and then found it way too late) and I got to hang out with more wonderful bloggers and have great chats with Jenni from Live to Read, Love to Read, Jamie from The Perpetual Page Turner, and Brianna from Paperback Princess! Lots of schmoozing & chatting and it was just so much fun to be able to talk with new and old friends alike.

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IMG_2929(photo courtesy of Sandie from Teen Lit Rocks)

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Jamie, Scott Westerfield, and me (photo courtesy of Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner) 

FRIDAY:
Friday was much more laid-back. I thought it was going to be a busy day, but I actually did a lot of what I wanted on Friday and snagged my most coveted ARCs on Thursday too! We were able to get in line for the galley drop of LANDLINE (Rainbow Rowell) though which was one book I REALLY wanted to get. We also picked up a few great books in a Little, Brown galley drop and I got signed copies of EVEN IN PARADISE (Chelsey Philpot) and THE WALLED CITY (Ryan Graudin)!
At night, Alyssa, Amy and I walked over to a local theater to see Maleficent! It was really, really enjoyable and Angelina Jolie was just perfect for the role! I did have some minor complaints like… plot haha. I just wished they had hashed out Maleficent’s back story more and had less of a cross-over with the Sleeping Beauty plot because I feel like it sort of overshadowed Maleficent’s life and shifted the focus.

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IMG_2941Maleficent viewing! (photo courtesy of Alyssa at Books Take You Places) 

SATURDAY:
PHEW, Saturday was the last day and I was exhausted! It was a super chill day with not much to do on the main floor so we booked it straight to the line to meet Cary Elwes (Westley from The Princess Bride, for those of you who don’t know) who was there promoting his new book coming out in October, AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE (Cary Elwes).

NAMES DROPPED: Bloggers

I SAW YOU BUT WHY DIDN’T I TAKE PICTURES WITH YOU?

NAMES DROPPED: Books

So to sum up a long post, BEA this year was so much fun! It was definitely very different than last year, but mostly I’m just glad that I got to spend time with my besties, see some of my great blogger friends, and meet new people too! As usual, I didn’t network a lot because I’m just plain intimidated! I made sure to talk with the Macmillan contacts that I knew but other than that… I just chickened out! Sigh. I guess there’s always next year! I just never like approaching a publisher and handing them my card like I expect them to send me things. It feels strange! Whichever way you slice it, it was a total success and a blast! But even still, I’m glad to be home and relaxing, back in the swing of things!

Heads up for all you #LitLush fans! I grabbed a bunch of ARCs for On the Same Page ARC tours! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for new ARC tours being announced on the On the Same Page page and Twitter!! If you have any ARCs from BEA (or otherwise) that you’re already finished with or don’t need to keep, please consider donating them to the ARC tours! We try to collect as many as possible on our own but I cannot tell you how much blogger donations help and how much we appreciate them!

Fierce Reads Tour Fall 2013 (Chicago): Recap, Author Interview, and Giveaway!

FIERCE READS TOUR

Leigh Bardugo, Ann Aguirre, Jessica Brody, and Gennifer Albin
Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL
November 4, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013 was a magical day for me. Macmillan asked me to be the featured blogger at the Fierce Reads tour event at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL and I literally did   a happy dance when I got the offer (and immediately accepted, of course). For my super special blogger duties, I got to sit down for an interview with all four Fierce Reads authors, live tweet the event, and I have a fantastic giveaway for you as well!

I had a blast interviewing the Fierce Reads ladies! Let’s see what they had to say!
(Portions edited for time and reading purposes and will not affect the overall outcome of the show interview.)

Brittany: We’re all here for the Fierce Reads tour so let’s kick it off by talking about what your favorite fierce reads of all time are.
Leigh Bardugo: Okay! I’ve got one. The Grounding of Group 6 by Julian F. Thompson. It is out of print but this is a book about a group of kids who are problem kids who get sent to a new private school and they go to orientation except really Group 6 is every year designated to be murdered — Their parents have sent them off to be killed. (Surprised looks on our faces) YES! It’s an amazing book and when I was a kid, I was sure this is what my parents were going to do to me.
Brittany: That’s terrible!
Leigh: It would make a great movie. They don’t all die! Some of them get their shiz together.
Jessica Brody: I’m gonna go with the obvious answer which is The Hunger Games. I thought that was AHmazing. I read that in a day and I normally take like two weeks to read books. It was the only book where when I put it down I felt like I was missing something. I was like, “Don’t do anything without me! Don’t kill anyone else until I get back!”
(Penn Gilette walks by in the background (He was at a signing for Anderson’s that night as well) and we all talk about Penn Gilette for a few minutes and how he got the spot in the main store and somehow Fierce Reads ended up in the gift shop. Sidenote: This made me majorly sad because HI. Fierce Reads. More important than Penn Gilette!)
Leigh: Fierce Read?
Gennifer Albin: I’ve forgotten every book I’ve ever read now. Penn Gilette wiped them from my mind.
Ann Aguirre: Do you mean fierce in action or fierce in…?
B: In any way you want!
Leigh: Emotionally fierce?
Ann: I think one of the books that had the most impact on me was actually Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
Genn: I always have such weird answers.
B: Weird is good!
Leigh: Weird is the new fierce! Fierce is the new weird. Fierd. Weirce?
Genn: Ummm.
Ann: Just say Harry Potter and move on!
Genn: My primary reading of all time is in the 18th century and no one will know what I’m talking about!
(We move on to question two)
B: If you were a character in one of your own books — and it does not have to be a main character AND if you feel like you should be someone else, you can even invent a new one.
Jessica: In any of our books?
B: Yes!
Jessica: Well, I would like to be Lexington Larrabee in 52 Reasons to Hate My Father
Leigh: And I would like to be your friend! Your dear, dear friend.
Jessica: Well, I would want to be her after she does all the jobs… She’s got a pretty glam life. I would just like her closet! That would be enough for me.
Leigh: I would like to be a member of Sturmhond’s crew in Siege and Storm except that I get really seasick! So instead I think I’m gonna be.. I’m gonna be a Fabrikator, maybe one in charge of delicious snacks, who lives in the grand palace and stays far away from any battles.
Jessica: You’re just the snack maker!
Ann: That’s the problem I have with all of my books! I just want to stay home. I’m like Frodo… or Bilbo. I don’t want to go out and have adventures!
Leigh:  Stay in the Shire, Ann!
Ann: I guess I’d be Mama Oaks because she doesn’t have to go out and fight and I would probably cook things instead of sew things as she does, but she is a homebody character and she takes care of people.
Genn: I don’t know… who would I want to be in my books?
Leigh: Cormac?
Jessica: Yeah, I was gonna say Cormac!
Leigh: Walk around in a tux, drinking my tea…
(Genn reveals possible spoilers!)
Jessica: I want to be the secret character from the end!
Genn: Yeah, that’s actually who I would choose too.
Ann: You can’t be that character!
Genn: Well, there’s lots of reasons why I can’t be that character… Not the least of which is that (… possible Altered spoiler?)
Leigh: It’s me, I put myself in a book!
(Laughter)
Leigh: That would be the best twist! (More laughter) If like, all of sudden your character was like, “And then Leigh Bardugo walked in!” And you just wrote yourself in, Being John Malkovich-style!
Genn: “I’ve been controlling YOU the whole time while you control the fabric of reality!”

B: Your dreams have come true and you get to live in one of your favorite books or series! What’s the book or series that you would choose and who’s the one person you’d bring with you?
Leigh: I can answer for Genn! Harry Potter!! But we don’t know who you would bring.
Jessica: She’d bring her son James because he dressed as Harry Potter! She’d bring her husband!
Genn: I’d sacrifice myself and let them go together.
Ann: Would you really!?
Jessica: That is really stupid! (Laughter)
Leigh: Well I would have to say it would have been Harry Potter but I’m gonna go with Howl’s Moving Castle. As for who I’d bring with me…. I’d bring my friend Morgan. She’s very charming! She could charm everybody there. She’d be the master of charm and I’d just follow in her wake.
Ann: I would like to go into the Stat Trek universe.
Leigh: Which one?
Ann: The Reboot. The alternate universe they’re doing with Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine.
Leigh: I’ve changed my mind. Can I bring Henry Cavill? I would like to bring him.
B: Of course!
Ann: AND, I would like to bring MacGuyver.
B: Oh, there you go!
Leigh: (Laughing) You’ll end up with just the actor! You’ll end up with Richard Dean Anderson and he’ll be like, “I don’t know how to do anything! Stop handing me paperclips!”
Ann: I want MacGuyer, NOT Richard Dean Anderson. So any problem we have in the Star Trek universe he can fix with a roll of duct tape… and a pancake.
Jessica: I’m gonna go with the shallow answer and say The Uglies series so I can make myself pretty!
Leigh: Don’t they like, mess with your head!?
Jessica: Yes, I will be a bubblehead! But I will be very pretty and drink champagne every day!
Leigh: You can do that now! Who would you take with you?
Jessica: Oh! I would take… my sister.
Ann: Because she’s really homely.
(Laughter)
Jessica: No, because she really, really loves that series and I thought she might like it.

B: Lots of people like to know your favorite literary crush but I want to know your favorite literary villains.
Ann: (Answers right away) Snape!
Leigh: But he’s not a villain!
Jessica: He kind of is.
Genn: He has his moments! He’s an antagonist.
Ann: I’m not gonna lie… If I was at Hogwarts, I would be the teacher’s pet.
Leigh: You’re from Hufflepuff — he never would have given you a second look!
(Everyone “aw”s)
Leigh: You can come to the Slythern common room with me.
Ann: I would just follow him and stare at him with big eyes.
Leigh: Does it have to be literary?
B: You can venture out of literary.
Leigh: Because I’m gonna have to go with Jareth, the Goblin King from the Labyrinth.
B: Ooooooh.
Ann: If we’re doing movies, I’m gonna add Riddick!
Leigh: And I’m also going to add Flagg from Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon — not so much in The Stand. Flagg keep showing up in his work. But yeah, both of those were big influences on the characters in the Grisha trilogy. (Brittany sidenote: I’m now picturing the The Darkling as Jareth.)
Genn: I almost always root for the villains. Is that bad?
B: Not at all! One of my best friends loves the villains.
Jessica: I’m gonna be a kiss-ass and say Cormac Patton!
(Laughter)
Jessica: He’s a great villain! Oh! And President Snow.
Leigh: He’s a really good villain.
Jessica: He smells like blood and roses.
Leigh: (in a creepy voice) He drinks blood!
Jessica: They should release a perfume line.
Leigh: You know, don’t put it past them!
Ann: Scratch and sniff!
Leigh: Like, you scratch Donald Sutherland’s beard and it smells like blood and roses!
Genn: You know who is one of the most delicious villains because I actually HATE them? I hate them with every fiber of my being like my skin crawls and that makes them such a beautiful villain to me is Dolores Umbridge.
All: OOOOOOH
Genn: She’s the villain of bureaucracy!
Leigh: She’s probably the most evil character of the whole series! And she’s so plausible. We’ve all encountered somebody like her.
Genn: She’s SO well-written. She gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Ann: Is it, “The odds are ever in your favor” lady?
Genn: Nooo, she’s the one who wears the pink wool suit in Harry Potter… “I will not tell lies”…
Ann: OHHHH oh oh oh. And she takes over everything, right?
Jessica: With all the kitty plates!
Leigh: Remember that teacher I had that told me I would never amount to anything? She was my Umbridge and her office was decorated all with Scottie dogs and when I read that character, the hair rose on my arms.
Ann: I think we’ve all had some permutation.
Leigh: That’s why she’s so terrifying. Voldemort it’s like, “You’ve got no nose! Saw you coming! Kinda knew you were band news!”
B: That’s what’s so terrible. Because everything’s under a mask of niceness!
Jessica: Kitties!
Genn: I think she thinks she’s doing right and that she’s making the best decisions. I think that’s what makes a good villain a good villain.
Leigh: I would actually love to read her backstory. Like what makes a Dolores Umbridge a Dolores Umbridge.

B: Do you have any quirky reading and/or writing habits?
Ann: I am a gluttonous reader… I have to be really careful about starting a book after midnight. Even if it’s terrible, I will most like read it until it’s done and even if that takes me all night long and I’ve got no sleep and it’s time to get up in the morning and then make breakfast, I’m like “I regret everything about the decision making I’ve done for the last eight hours…” So I have to be reasonable about my start times otherwise I will get no sleep.
Genn: I do the same, but I regret nothing!
Leigh: My weird reading habit is I will never stop reading on the fourth page, or the twenty-fourth page or any page number that ends in a four.
Jessica: That is very strange!
Genn: If you want Leigh Bardugo to read your book paginated —
Leigh: I’ll never be able to stop!
B: What if it’s the last page of the chapter?
Leigh: I will go on to the next chapter.
Jessica: Where does that come from?
Leigh: Ever since I was a kid, I had a hang up with the number four. It’s not like to the extent where it’s real OCD but I’m aware of it all the time. And even if I write an email, I have to make myself — if there are four things in a list, I’m like, “I need a fifth!” or like “Number Five, because I don’t like four things in a list!” It’s pretty common actually! Number obsessions. And I didn’t know that until I was listening to this radio show one night and he was like, “I have a problem with odd numbers,” and I was like, “I have a problem with even numbers!”
Jessica:I guess my weirdest thing is that I’m obsessed with Audible audiobooks and I listen to them all at two times speed. And everyone thinks that really weird AND the misconception about two times speed is that everyone thinks it sounds like a chipmunk but they don’t actually speed up the voice — they just take out the gaps between the words so it really is just someone reading it faster.
Leigh: I wonder if the books seem more exciting because of that!
Jessica: I think they do! And anyone who gets in my car and there’s an audiobook playing, their head spins, like “What are you listening to!? I’m going to have an aneurysm!”

B: November is National Novel Writing Month! Are you working on any new projects for NaNo or  in general?
Jessica: I’m just trying to finish the third book in my trilogy so that’s my NaNo… My every day, really!
Ann: I cleared my desk before I left for tour so I got notes two days before we left from my editor and I was like, “We’re going on the road! I hope you don’t expect these revisions back any time soon!” So that’s what I’m going to be doing November is revising, before I can write new words.
Leigh: I don’t really do NaNo in the sense that I don’t post my word count and I try to avoid other people’s word counts, but I do like to use it to get things done and I knew I wasn’t going to write while I was on tour so before tour, I cranked out almost 30,000 words and I”m hoping to jump back in when I get home. We’ll see. I usually need some decompression time when I just lie around watching all the old episodes of Project Runway!
Genn: Now for me is like the holiday season? It’s like the whole year just starts over for me. It starts with NaNo and then your whole writing year starts over that’s just how it is for me BECAUSE my first book was written during NaNo. So I’m really, really eager to get home to and actually do something towards it because I kept telling myself I would write on the road… It’s really, really hard to write on tour because you’re like “Well, I’ll do it tonight because there’ll be time after the event” and then you just sit in bed and you’re like, “My brain is made of jello!” But I will be doing NaNo… We have the Night of Writing Dangerously so I do have to write something before that because I can’t walk in like, “Listen to me give you advice! I’m going to give you a speech but I haven’t written a damn word in November!” Do as I say, not as I do!

That interview was an absolute blast. Everyone was so much fun and they had really creative answers! Sorry I had such difficult questions! Another MANY MANY thanks to Leigh Bardugo, Ann Aguirre, Jessica Brody, and Gennifer Albin! They were absolutely fantastic and I had such a blast!

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Ann Aguirre, Gennifer Albin, Leigh Barugo, me, and Jessica Brody (sorry my iPhone takes truly terrible pictures. Time for an upgrade!)

Okay, okay, I know you want to get to the giveaway. It’s pretty EPIC if I do say so myself. Firstly, a huge thanks to Macmillan for providing all of the books for this giveaway! I got to take a whole stack of literally ALL of the featured Fierce Reads series that are currently available (and some that are not!) and get them signed by the authors. Here’s what we have to offer:

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UNFORGOTTEN by Jessica Brody  (Unreleased ARC!)
UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody (Hardcover)
CREWEL by Gennifer Albin (Paperback)
ALTERED by Gennifer Albin (Hardcover)
ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre (Paperback)
OUTPOST by Ann Aguirre (Paperback)
HORDE by Ann Aguirre (Hardcover)
SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo (Paperback)
SIEGE AND STORM by Leigh Bardugo (Hardcover)

The winner will receive ALL NINE BOOKS. That’s right. ALL NINE. ALL SIGNED. How exciting is that!?! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below! Winners must be 13 years of age or older and the shipping address must be US or Canada only. Sorry, International!

Runners up will receive some various Fierce Reads swag! You could win a Fierce Reads tote bag, Fierce Reads posters, and swag from the books! If you want to win some swag, just let me know when you fill out your Rafflecopter entry!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monthly Recap: October 2012

OCTOBER RECAP

ACK! I almost forgot about my October recap. NaNoWriMo has taken over most of my thoughts nowadays so I completely forgot about October.

New Additions:

  • The Selective Collective: Created by the same group as Casting Call, we formed an official book club to read and review books, each of us posting a different aspect of analyzation for the book (review, Q&A, author interview, casting, discussion, etc). We read The Elementals by Francesca Lia Block in October and for November, keep an eye our for our posts for Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill!
  • A Fortnight of Fright

The Book Addict’s Guide at a glance:

  • Most visited post (and most comments): My 6 month Blogoversary post 10/11/12
  • Interesting search terms: “Severus Snape” (yay!), “running out of time margaret peterson haddix” (YAY that this is leading people to my blog!!!), “kaidan rowe interview” (not quite accurate, but yum!), “and i’m so glad we became friends too” (ME TOO)
  • Top clicked link: inlinkz.com (yay, participation!), goodreads.com (let’s be friends!)

My favorite reads from October:

Coming up in November:

  • Series Catch-Up 2012: Trying to catch up or finish some of the series that I’ve started over the years and have dragged my feet on. This challenge is open to everyone and it’s already started, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to join! It goes through the end of the year, so if you’re interested in joining, check out the details! You can read as many or as little as you want and it’s just for fun and to help you clear up some of those pesky TBRs that you keep putting off!
  • Naturally, Charlie blog tour – 11/8
  • In-store event/signing with Ally Condie (I already preordered Reached!) – 11/14
  • My stop on the Epic Giving Thanks Scavenger Hunt, hosted by Book Brats! – 11/15